Saturday, September 17, 2011

Heading to High Country and other stuff....

Heading to High Country 12x16

The latest off the easel... or at least the latest I haven't thrown away yet! For some reason I can't get an accurate photo of it. The color is just... off.  But this is the best  I could manage today.  Sheesh... I did have fun with this one, creating a story in my mind as I painted about packing up into the mountains.  This came primarily from my imagination, but the funny thing was, that after I was nearly done with it, we ran into two guys doing exactly this while on a hike in the Sangre de Cristo range above Santa Fe.  They even had a buckskin with them (that's the light colored horse with the black mane and tail and legs, for those who might not know).
Buckskins were a favorite of my dad's - he told me so once, so I add them in when I can.
Here's the painting as I first blocked it in, just out of my head, so things are a little rough.
Actually the colors in this WIP version are a little closer to the real thing.  After putting in the basic structure, I changed:
1.the value of the sky (it was too dark, and needed to gradate from the left where the light was coming from)
2.the shape of the mountains. That pyramid shape had to go.
3.added a vest to the nearest rider (just  because I wanted to) and did a bit of fine tuning of the horses in general.  I painted these mostly with negative painting, not drawing them in, but rather painting the background around them till there was horse and rider left.  This helps in some ways to create the sense of light flowing around them, and also keeps me from knit picking details. I left them simple with some good juicy brushstrokes in the areas of light. I also changed the position of the front rider, mostly because I just didn't like him turning the way he was.
4. paid close attention to the negative shapes between the trees - deep "v" shapes or triangle are easy to create between pine or spruce trees - watch out for that.
5. created a lead-in in the foreground grasses by the subtle shape of the dead trees and shadows.
6. used other directional lines to point towards the focal point, which is the rider with the read shirt.

The two cowboys we met allowed us to take their photo - so here's that too. They were going across the mountains, through Puerto Nambe down to Mora, NM.   As the front fellow told us, "It's a pretty good way to spend the weekend."

In other news,  I was able to meet some folks from PAPNM, which is Plein Air Painters New Mexico.  We painted near the river down in Jemez Springs.  Here's one of our views. Notice I am not showing you the painting I did.  It's in that round file.  :-)
It was a perfect day for painting.  In a couple of weeks I am going up to Georgia O'Keefe's old stomping grounds for a weekend of painting with PAPNM.  Can't wait - there are some fabulous views there.

1 comment:

Judy P. said...

What a great painting, and your comments are helpful for studying.
Ha, the 'round file'- I've got to remember that one!